League of Legends: Riot teases exciting new mechanic for Volibear

Riot Games
Riot Games /

League of Legends’ Volibear is currently undergoing a VGU and while it won’t arrive until 2020, Riot Games has some exciting plans for the Freljordian demigod.

Back in May, Riot Games hosted a fan poll to determine which League of Legends champion would be the next to undergo a graphical and gameplay update. The results were actually much closer than expected, so Riot decided that both Fiddlesticks and Volibear would undergo a VGU.

We haven’t heard much since that announcement, but this week Riot Games lifted the curtain and provided a brief status update on the both of them.

Fiddlesticks seems to be a bit further ahead in terms of his VGU, having moved from ideation and into early production. As the “most horrifying champion” in League of Legends, Fiddlestick’s reworked kit is designed around Crowstorm, and it sounds like he’s going to be “one of, if not the best, ‘ambush’ character in the game.”

Volibear is a bit more difficult to figure out it seems. Riot gameplay designer Nathan Lutz revealed the team hasn’t yet settled on a direction for Volibear just yet, but it seems they are on a promising path — one that will introduce an exciting new mechanic for the Freljordian demigod.

“‘Feeling unstoppable’ was one of the first goal statements I wrote when outlining the Volibear VGU. After trying several iterations which attempted to capture that feeling, the team encouraged me to push the envelope and really go for it,” Lutz revealed.

The result is a concept in which “Volibear refuses to be stopped by immobilizing effects.”

More specifically, “he converts effects like roots and stuns into self-slows, which scale based on the strength of the crowd control that hit him.”

It’s a promising concept and while it sounds a bit overpowered, Lutz added that playtesters have deemed it “surprisingly fair.” Right now, Lutz is working on figuring out its “specific rules and balancing levers.”

Volibear’s chain lightning ultimate has also been changed to a passive effect to allow for a more exciting “R” ultimate, and Lutz is exploring other abilities to help modernize his other mechanics, such as health regeneration and lightning roar.

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While it’s still early in the update, I definitely like what I’m hearing. With so much crowd control and stuns in the game, having a character that not only ignores it but turns them into self-slows will completely upend the game. It sounds like Volibear’s relentless ability to chase down enemy champions will make him a hard counter to any CC-based characters — something League of Legends definitely needs.

At the same time, Riot has to be careful to ensure that he isn’t too overpowered. While counter-picking is an important aspect to League of Legends, you don’t want a situation where one champion can simply dismantle an entire team comp.

It’s also unclear how this VGU for Volibear will effect Teamfight Tactics, the new strategy spin-off mode in League of Legends. Volibear is one of the 51 champions available in the mode but it’s possible that could change by the time his rework arrives in 2020. Riot has already confirmed new seasons in Teamfight Tactics will result in new batches of champions, new items and system changes. It’s possible Volibear won’t even be in the mode by the time his rework goes live.